It's Who You Know, And Who You Blow
Carolina Muscle's Fantastic Hub
- what you deserve
I had someone say something very interesting to me yesterday. This person, a Doctor of some wealth, was working out next to me, and we got to talking.... He was explaining his viewpoint that he pays too...
Carolina Muscle said a mouthful
For the past month or so I've been on a bandwagon about money, elitism, thieving corporate boards of directors, wayward politicians, and the just plain teeming arrogance from the top looking down at the rest of the population as bottom-feeding, low-life, underperforming, unskilled, and just plain worthless piles with their hands out, to put it very bluntly. I've tried to make my point this way and that way, and every way but Sunday. And really, in all I've only probably served to overcomplicate the matter at hand.
I've written hubs like, "Corporate Boards Are Glorified Thieves," and yes, I know that the word "theifs" is misspelled (hey, even an unskilled political non-elite opinion guy like me can be a sucker for a little keyword stuff). Another one I called, "The Jobless Are Not Lazy," and another one is titled, "Another Example Of An Overpaid CEO," which is on point about the whole concept of CEO pay, and severence packages which are akin to winning the lottery, but focuses on the exorbitant severence package former HP CEO Mark Hurd enjoyed after resigning his post due to the discovery of falsified expense reports to cover up an affair he had supposedly with a female contractor, and an accusation of sexual harassment.
Speaking of mouthfuls, but I digress.
The point of that last hub was basically that here was a guy who got a lot of money for doing a lot of crap he wasn't supposed to do. And he's by far the only one.
See, that's what gotten under my skin so darned bad. My panties (I actually wear Made in the USA Fruit of the Looms) are really in a terrible bunch because we're at this place that we've gotten to where everyone at the bottom is simply an underachiever and should simply be someone thankful that a few scraps fall his way now and again thanks to all of the genious, and hard work of the guys at the top who, according to all accounts, are the ones who really make it all happen.
After all, all of these guys are educated. They've gone to college to learn their valuable stuff to make the world go round. These are men of ideas, and damnit all, they deserve to have everything and then some...You guys at the bottom need simply take notes, and take notice.
But there was that word that got it all done for me. Deserve. It was the one word that I was trying to get at all along. It just never made it past my tongue, and certainly never made it past my keyboard and onto the screen in any of my hubs. In reality, looking back, I kind of feel like an idiot actually. God, it's so simple. And I didn't think of it. Carolina Muscle did. Another hubber. Not me. In a word he got it done. In a word he had summed up everything I had been trying to get across. After I read it, I thought—with some exaggeration of course—that I had quite literally found the Holy Grail in all of Its glory.
I'm still pounding my head into the wall over it, so thank you very much Mr. Muscle. Whatever company makes Tylenol, invest in it. I'm taking it by the truckload with all this head-banging. Oh yes, and drywall. Invest in that too.
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It's tough for a conservative such as myself
When you're a conservative such as I am, it's really tough to stand up and be for the little guy. Really tough. Because the fact of the matter is, as soon as you start to say, "Hey, the guy on the bottom needs a little recognition for his contribution too," all of sudden the accusations begin to fly.
Socialist! Redistributor of wealth! Robin Hood!
Man, let me tell you something. That cannot be farther from the truth. First off, I don't have anything whatsoever against the rich. I like the rich. I want to be rich, and certainly should I ever become rich, I certainly don't ever want to be against myself.
I'll even tell you this; when I see a guy drive past me on the highway in a BMW or a Mercedes (which I don't find all that impressive actually, I personally like Lincolns) I don't get mad. I want to know what it is that got the guy behind the wheel of such an expensive machine.
Because here's what I generally think. Hard work pays. That's the motto I try to live my life by. Work hard, make a contribution, and it will pay off one way or another. Nothing in life should be a cakewalk. Nothing should be handed down on a silver platter. Everything should be hard. Everything should be a challenge, and if you get somewhere and you achieve something, by God you should have a trail of blood, sweat, and tears in a long path behind you...
And accolades and fortunes ahead of you.
Hard work. Yes. That's exactly what success is supposed to be made of. Grit and conviction. And I'm thinking, some of those guys who are driving those BMW's and Mercedes just have to be one of those guys. One of those guys who worked hard, who busted his ass, who got it all done, and who took on the challenge like a matador takes on a bull—with grit, conviction, and a bit of risk.
If not, then well...busting my ass is for moot. If not, any of us busting our asses is for moot. If not, then the idea that hard work pays is a great big lie, and I simply don't want to believe that. I need to not believe that.
A little bit of reality
I'm not going to sit here and say that anyone who is at the top, or who has a fancy degree on their wall, is lazy. I won't say that at all. I will say, though, that too often many of these guys simply put themselves on a pedestal that really has no business being beneath their feet. They all think, regardless of how they arrived where they are, that they have earned their position. They have earned their right to the big prize. They believe wholeheartedly that they deserve every bit of what they have, and that everyman deserves virtually nothing except to be thankful for what the top trickles down.
It was something that a doctor had said to Carolina Muscle at a gym, as they worked out alongside one another, that got him rolling things around in his head. As Carolina put it, "He was explaining his viewpoint that he pays too much in taxes.... and that the poor and indigent belong that way, they deserve no help from society—or more importantly, him. He says he worked hard to get where he is, and that " they should too.""
Hard work. He worked hard to get where he is, and they should too.
I think that statement could be more correctly read another way. "It's who you know, and who you blow that got me where I am, and the fact is that the poor and indigent simply don't know anyone important enough to blow."
I'm not suggesting that's always the case. But how many times have I run into guys in the factories I've worked, whose daddy was a supervisor in one department, who was quickly moved up the ranks? One guy's daddy happened to be a vice president of the company, and his son in a few very short years went from an hourly employee to one making six figures at the corporate headquarters. I know of one guy who runs a software consulting firm whose son is very young, who drives nice cars and lives in a huge house. He, of course, works for daddy. And while he thinks he's an achiever, the reality is that he is nor more than a receiver. A recipient of his father's earned success. A benefactor of his father's hard work.
In his own eyes, and in his view of the world, however. He deserves his place in the world. He deserves his position, and his accolades, and all of the goodies that come with that.
The reality is that he, and those guys I ran into in those factories never knew the reality of hard work a day of their lives. They perceive their efforts as hard work. They perceive their successes as having been as a result of proving themselves to their daddy's to get the accolades—but had their daddy's not been who they were, they'd likely have been down in the trenches with the rest of us, really busting tail and going at things the hard way.
No fancy cars. No fancy houses. No fancy degrees. At least, not until they had performed the hard work to get them to those ends on their own.
The bottom line
I think that at the end of the day if everyone has an equal opportunity, then we should all be like runners on a track. We all start at the same exact place before the gun goes off and the fastest runners come in first, second, and third, based on their real speed and their real ability. If some runners are too slow they come in last. But if they do come in last, they work hard to become faster, and they want to, because they know what the value of the prize is. They know what the effort will bring. And they want to be like the guy with the trophy because they know he got it for real effort, and real acheivement, and real hard work—and that makes their hard work worthwhile. It makes the concept of hard work the real basis for success. It makes the faster runner's reality ever being the slower runner's reality something tangible.
That's the gist of what I'm talking about. I'm not getting down on the rich. I'm just asking some of them, if had they not known someone, or had a three or four pace start on the track when the gun went off, would they be rich at the finish line before me? How much of what you have achieved is as a result of hard work, and how much was as a result of who you know and who you blow?
And as for us down here? I wonder how much more respect we would have for the guys at the top if we knew that they started on the bottom just like we did? And how much more respect and appreciation would the guys at the top have for the enormous hard work and effort that goes into every day of everyman if they weren't immediately thrust upward into their positioning?
The bottom line is that not everyone deserves everything they have, or do not have. Some of the rich do not deserve to have their money, and certainly if that's true, then neither do some of the poor deserve not to have it. What everyone does deserve, is the real opportunity. I'm not so sure we are exactly there, and the opportunities are getting much harder to truly get at.
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